This week, a few paid protesters and residents of the Lagasa community in the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos, challenged the continuous drilling of sand at the Lagasa Ebute dredging site by Dilly Motors Ltd., a dredging company.
In a protest on Wednesday, 20th April, 2022 the community alleged that Dilly Motors Ltd., did not have any land or landed property in Lagasa Community, and as such, was not a stakeholder in the community.
Chief Shamsudeen Amusat, Odofin of Ibeju Lekki, Mr Adesina Salisu and Mrs Kudirat Odofin, spoke on behalf of the Lagasa community. They alleged that the community or its leadership did not give the company a consent (either verbally or in writing) for the purpose of application for a cadastral licence with the Federal Ministry of Mines or the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office (NMCO) in Abuja.
However, in a swift reaction, the Chairman, Dilly Motors Ltd., Mr Okwudili Umenyiora, at a news conference at the palace of the Baale of Lagasa community, said that the problem at the dredging site was instigated by a faction of leaders disloyal to the Baale.
In his words, “all relevant documents and consent given to me to operate at the site were fully signed by the bona-fide ruler of the community, Chief Lamidi Ajoro, the Basket of Lagasa town”. He noted that there was no overlapping titles in the said land his company was dredging as being insinuated by the community.
“So, once the demarcation was done, they found out that the other operators were not supposed to be dredging on my title because basically, the area in which that title was domiciled was different from the area in which they were dredging. So the borrow pits and the stockpile where the other dredging companies were extracting that sand were all inside my title.
“Based on that conclusion, an officer from the Federal Ministry of Mines, wrote a memo and gave them a stop work order and told them that they should evacuate the Dilly Motors title within 72 hours. Basically, there’s a small problem in the community. That’s the truth. The community is divided. “The Baale is old, and the other community leaders are fighting about it. So they are in court, that’s why we could find ourselves in this kind of precarious situation,” Umenyiora said.
He said that he was surprised at the length the other operators went to paint the Ministry of Mines in a bad light. The chairman said the ministry did due diligence in giving him the title to the land, stressing that all his documents were duly signed by the Baale and the Federal Ministry of Mines.
“So, if the consent of other operators was signed by Awoyaya/Dongo of Ibeju Lekki and not the Baale of Lagasa village, then what are they doing in Lagasa? “So, that’s basically what I have to say. My consent letter which has been cited by newsmen is duly signed by the Baale of Lagasa community, who is still alive” he said.
On allegation of terrorising the Lagasa community with armed security men, Umenyiora said that it was not true. “That is totally untrue. You know, when you are given a title, under the mining title, and in the mining industry, the laws are very strong. “If the Federal Government gives you a title, and you invest like five million dollars, that is not to say that the community can come up tomorrow and ask you to stop work, requesting 20,000 dollars per week.
“That is why those laws are made stringent like that to protect the title holder. So, I was using enforcement and law, to try and stop the illegal operators mining on my title. “And every day, every time I try to use enforcement and law to stop those illegal operators from operating on my title, the other part of the villages will come to attack us,” he said.
On the way forward, Umenyiora said that the Baale of the community had appealed to him to go ahead with his legal business. The Baale of Lagasa community, Chief Lamidi Ajoro, said that the title land to Dilly Motors was duly signed by him to operate on the said piece of land. Ajoro said that Dilly Motors should continue to work on the site.
Watch the full report by PlusTV Africa below;